Many of us dream of seeing the world’s greatest sights, but for one reason or another, we often dismiss those dreams as impractical and expel them into the “maybe later” category in our brains. Contrary to many, Jack Bingham and six of his friends decided that they wanted to experience one of their dreams now. So, when they were presented with the opportunity to trek to the base camp of Mount Everest, they said YES.
Currently, Jack and his six friends live and work in London, England. After deciding to do this trip, they quickly begin to raise money for charity and start setting their minds on the challenging trek ahead where they would be climbing over 17,500 feet and seeing the world’s tallest mountain up close. It was a dangerous trek that pushed them all mentally and physically.
We recently interviewed Jack on his experience and why he added Mount Everest to his BUCKiTDREAM list.
What made you add ‘Mount Everest Base Camp’ to your Buckitdream list?
Growing up you hear stories about the immensity of summiting Everest and the brilliance of being in the great outdoors and, as such, I have always sought opportunities accordingly! Five years ago I was lucky enough to go on a trip to India, which involved trekking the Himalayan Hampta Pass (18,000 feet) and it was this that really gave me the bug for wanting to do more extreme trekking. Over a pint at the pub, I found out Exeter University were planning a trip to Nepal to trek to Everest Base Camp and it was this which made me add it to my Buckitdream list.
How well did you cope with the changes in altitude?
At the start of the trekking, our Guide briefed us on the symptoms of altitude sickness and stressed the importance of drinking lots of water, taking acclimatization treks seriously and not getting sunburnt by slapping on sun cream. This I did and it worked! For every 2000 feet, we ascended we spent a day sleeping at that height to help the body cope with changes in altitude. Altitude sickness affects everyone differently, and whilst it did not affect me others, despite us all taking the same precautionary action, which included drinking lots of garlic soup, everyone wasn’t so lucky.
What was your highlight of the trip?
The whole trekking experience was awesome and I have come back with lots of great memories: the landscape was like something out of Lord of the Rings; flying into and out of Lukla Airport the world’s most dangerous airstrip was let’s say interesting and meeting other trekkers whom I exchanged stories with inspired me to want to do more! If I had to choose one highlight it would be ‘summiting’ Base Camp. Once there we experienced thunder like noises up the mountain followed by great avalanches of rock and snow, cracking on the ice which we were standing on and rapid changes in the weather. The atmosphere really put into context the magnitude of trying to summit Everest and how special Base Camp really was – we had walked in the footsteps of greats!
What did you struggle with the most?
As the climate and food was very different to that of London at times my body rejected ‘things’. I was able to combat this with a concoction of drugs, from your basic Ibuprofen to Imodium, which is definitely your friend! However, it was difficult to predict when you would get ill and, this added to a mix of fatigue and hunger, does bode well. As I keep fit generally, I did not have trouble coping with altitude or physical action of trekking for 7-9 hours a day, which was good.
Has the trip made you want to go all the way to the top?
Prior to going to Nepal and climbing up to Base Camp, summating Everest was on my Buckitdream list. I won’t say that I no longer want to do it because part of me does. However, the trip exposed me to the extreme dangers of doing it and at this time I am not ready to make that jump. Instead, I now want to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania standing 19,353 feet versus Everest’s 29,028 feet. But who knows, maybe one day I might take the jump to climb to the top!
Is there anything else on your Buckitdream list?
I have a number of trips planned for next year: skiing in France, Machu Picchu in Peru and safari in South Africa. By going to Nepal and meeting the people I met, my eyes have been opened to exploring opportunities that I had not thought about previously, such as: conservation work in the Amazon and exploring more of the UK.
What would be the top 5 things you would suggest to our dreamers that want to climb Everest Base Camp?
1) Invest in a good kit, particularly a sleeping bag and down jacket to make sure you’re always warm.
2) Embrace the Nepalese culture – traditions, food and people – which is beautifully brilliant. If you have not done anything like this before be ready to leave western comforts behind and embrace an exciting new culture.
3) Read about the history of the mountain and previous expeditions to the summit, to appreciate you’re walking in the footsteps of legends.
4) Remind yourself why you are doing this trek. For me, I wanted to switch off from work and reenergize. I had to remind myself to stop, take in the incredible views instead of watching my feet all day whilst walking!
5) Make it happen! Life is too short to not make your dreams a reality! Trekking to Everest Base Camp really was an experience of a lifetime and one I’ll never forget!
If you have been inspired by Jack’s story and would like to climb to the Everest base camp (or all the way to the top!) add it to your BUCKiTDREAM list today.